The 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup groups and schedule were announced on Wednesday, with Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium set to host Group B matches. This will be the fifth consecutive Gold Cup with matches being played in Houston.
Group B consists of Honduras, El Salvador, Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti. Honduras is currently in the final round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
"Houston has become a top soccer city over the years, and BBVA Compass Stadium has emerged as an elite facility," said Dynamo president Chris Canetti. "Hosting a marquee event like Gold Cup is exciting and indicative of the respect organizers have for our city, stadium and organization."
Both Honduras and El Salvador participated in the 2011 tournament. El Salvador lost in the quarterfinals to Panama on penalty kicks (5-3), while Honduras lost to Mexico 2-0 in the semifinals, a game that was played at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. Haiti’s last CONCACAF Gold Cup appearance was in 2009 when it lost 4-0 to Mexico in the quarterfinals, whereas Trinidad & Tobago’s last appearance was in 2007, when it failed to advance out of the group stage.
The Honduran national team could have some familiar faces from Major League Soccer in their squad. Houston’s Boniek García, Víctor Bernárdez and Marvin Chávez (San Jose), Mario Martínez (Seattle), Jerry Bengtson (New England), Hendry Thomas (Colorado), and Johnny Leverón (Montreal) all feature regularly for Los Catrachos.
The Honduran and Salvadoran national teams are no strangers to playing in Houston and both have proven to have strong support from the local community.
Honduras played Peru to a scoreless draw on Nov. 12, 2012 at BBVA Compass Stadium, while El Salvador played New Zealand to a 2-2 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 23, 2012. In addition, more than 27,000 fans packed Robertson Stadium in May 2011 to see a friendly between Honduras and El Salvador.
Tickets to all Gold Cup matches will be available to the general public starting on Thursday, March 21 at 10 a.m. by visiting www.GoldCup.org.
Group B schedule (time listed in CT):
Monday, July 8 – Red Bull Arena (Harrison, NJ)
El Salvador vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 6 p.m.
Haiti vs. Honduras, 8:30 p.m.
Friday, July 12 – Sun Life Stadium (Miami, FL)
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Haiti, 6 p.m.
Honduras vs. El Salvador, 8:30 p.m.
Monday, July 15 – BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, TX)
El Salvador vs. Haiti, 6 p.m.
Honduras vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 8:30 p.m.
When BBVA Compass Stadium opened last May, the promise of not only Dynamo soccer but international soccer was a major appeal to the Houston community. Since then, the downtown venue has hosted a Mexico-Guyana World Cup qualifier and the penultimate match of the U.S. women’s national team gold medal victory tour. Next Tuesday, BBVA Compass Stadium will have its first opportunity to host a U.S. men’s national team match, and after this morning’s news from CONCACAF, another high-quality national team fixture might not be far away.
CONCACAF announced Wednesday morning that BBVA Compass Stadium is one of the 13 venues that will host matches in the 2013 Gold Cup that will run from July 7-28. With its rich soccer history and diverse population, it’s no surprise that Houston was chosen as a host city for the tournament. Reliant Stadium hosted the 2011 Gold Cup semifinals and was packed to the rafters with fans of the El Tri and the U.S. national team.
“It’s great to see the Gold Cup coming to BBVA Compass Stadium,” said Dynamo president Chris Canetti. “I think it makes a statement that BBVA Compass Stadium is highly regarded as a top venue and Houston as a top market for international soccer matches. I am happy that CONCACAF recognizes these very important aspects and has awarded us with the games.”
Aside from the stadium being decked out in orange, the Dynamo could have at least one player participating in this summer’s tournament. Boniek Garcia’s Honduran squad qualified for the 2013 Gold Cup after finishing the Central American Cup group stage with an 0-0-2 record. Los Catrachos will face Belize on Friday in the semifinals, with the winner advancing to Sunday’s final to take on the winner of Costa Rica and El Salvador.
The Dynamo will not lose any of their Jamaican players for this summer’s tournament, after the Reggae Boyz failed to advance out of their group in the 2012 Caribbean Cup. With three Dynamo players currently in camp with the U.S. men’s national team, it’s possible any of Will Bruin, Tally Hall and Brad Davis could earn a call-up this summer, but official rosters will not be announced until late June.